By Edith Morgan
Maybe November 8 will be different – maybe everyone will show up to vote! (We’re electing our President, after all!) Or maybe the new early voting days will bring out enough of us to really make a difference.
Certainly the turnout on September 8 did not make me feel very hopeful, although there was some excuse for the lack of interest, in that there were unusual factors: 1) election day fell on a Thursday; 2) it was really poorly advertised by the parties: 3) there were too many wards where there was no contest; 4) I suspect a certain fatigue on the part of the voters, having been barraged with the incessant stupidities of the presidential campaign.
Still, some people who have never missed an election DID show up – even just to be counted, where they had no choices provided.
But November 8 will give us plenty to think about and to choose! As a retired educator and with a lifetime dedication to the idea of universal public education, I have watched for several decades now as the privatizers and money/power grabbers slowly made inroads into our public school systems: nationally, they cut public funding, closed many neighborhood schools and imposed a spurious testing system designed to punish the schools attended by the poorest and minority children.
Since most of the American public has for some time strongly supported their public schools, a direct frontal attack would have met with real resistance. So, there had to be the scurrilous, undercover attacks on aspects of the system that were vulnerable.
In addition to budget cuts, attacks on teachers and multiple choice tests designed to put down rather than to help the most needy, the notion of “choice” was sold as an alternative to making EVERY American school good and great. While we were promised that charter schools would introduce creative and innovative education ideas, to be then introduced to the public schools, that idea soon got lost …The rest of the story is history …
But now, with Ballot Question 2, we have a chance to at least put a halt on the draining of the life-blood of our schools.
Question 2 proposes to lift the cap on further charter school expansion in Massachusetts.
So, a NO vote will keep the cap we have now at its present level.
We have a chance to stop the erosion in its tracks – it’s the least we can do. So I urge, plead, entreat EVERY VOTER to cast a ballot and at least vote No on 2! Even if you are totally turned off by the Presidential race, give our children a chance! Make sure that the very necessary funding our public schools depend on is not drained away any more. It’s the least any of us can do!